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What would you do if

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:07 am
by Jezza13
Iv'e always been interested in putting hypothetical situations to people and getting their feedback on how they would react in those situations. I enjoy getting people question their philosophical and moral outlook on life when confronted with extreme situations.

So , given the scenario below, it would be great to get your thoughts on how you would react in the face of this extreme situation. It's quite morbid but it's usually these situations that really get people thinking how they would react when under duress.

Along with 20 others, men, women and children, you are held hostage by a lone gunman brandishing a semi-automatic rifle. He also has what looks like explosives strapped to his chest. He has already killed 1 person just as an example of how serious he is. The gunman has told the group that for any attempted escape, 3 hostages will be killed. You believe he is telling the truth. You are also not sure if anyone else will try to escape, thus further jeopardizing you chances of survival.

Suddenly you have an opportunity to make an escape that will certainly save your life. You look around at your fellow hostages, especially the petrified children. You think of your own children waiting at home.

Do you run, save yourself and probably condemn 3 fellow hostages to death or do you stay hoping that no-one else tries to escape and that your still alive when it all ends?

Does it become survival at all costs or does your moral compass and a sense of community override self preservation ?

What do you do?

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:50 pm
by minchy
I would say it's not a simple case of escape or don't, there's not enough information to make an educated decision.

Where are we? What kind of weaponry does he have? How are other hostages acting? How are we all being detained (tied up ot not etc)? And many other variables too.

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:01 pm
by Balibari
I like these games too.

It's important to know why we're being held hostage. For example if it's a bank robbery I'd think there's a good chance of us all surviving and would be less likely to make a run for it. If it was a terrorist attack I'd assume the end game is to kill us all anyway, in which case I'd certainly make a run for it, in theory anyway.

All I'm thinking about though is my kids. They would be the reason I'd probably end up sacrificing three strangers for my life, the thought of them being told I'm gone is too much to bear. Without wanting to sound too soppy it might depend on who the strangers were: I don't think I could sacrifice three kids even if they were strangers and I thought we were all dead anyway.

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:10 pm
by minchy
The problem with thinking of your kids though is what would they think about it?

It would be that they will be devastated to lose you, but I'd also think what my little girl would think when she was older knowing that she only has me because I was willing to sacrifice 3 other people to get back to her. It's not something that you can predict a reaction to. I would feel (and I would actually hope that my daughter would feel) ashamed of myself for my selfishness and also think of the other people who were there and how their kids would feel losing them.

That's the kind of guilt that can devour someone and effect your life in an extremely negative way forever.

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:55 pm
by mac_d
At the risk of sounding like a complete dick, unless I can defuse (pun work :D ) the situation in some way I'm f*cked. I have to value my own life a little more than the average punter.

But even with that, if my survival means the death of others I'm not sure I could live with that in my head.

I'd also say I'd probably think less if I was away in a foreign country with people I'd never met, if I was in my home country with people I've never met, if I'm with people I know vaguely, know well, friends or family. All these are different situations and would weigh differently in my mind - I put them in rough order of least - most weight in my mind. I don't have kids, and I know that changes things for people too. I won't comment on that aspect as I feel it is somewhat hard to relate to from my standing.

Without knowing the person taking me hostage, it's hard to know what the consequences are. We could all get killed in the end, in which case trying to escape or kill the raspberry, even if it means some of the folks dying is still an overall gain, or at worst, the same net result. Or maybe this guy will get taken out by the SAS or some other special forces types etc and my escape could end up turning one terrorist dead into a much worse situation.

Of course, this assumes I wouldn't just sh*t my pants and start crying in that situation anyway.

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:06 pm
by j man
Balibari wrote:It's important to know why we're being held hostage. For example if it's a bank robbery I'd think there's a good chance of us all surviving and would be less likely to make a run for it. If it was a terrorist attack I'd assume the end game is to kill us all anyway, in which case I'd certainly make a run for it, in theory anyway.
This is the key thing. Who is the gunman and what is his affiliation? Are his aims political or financial? And how steep are his demands?

If we're being hypothetical it's very easy to say I'd be the hero... but to be totally honest I imagine in such a situation I'd probably more likely lean towards self-preservation if I felt my life was in serious danger by staying. And this is purely for selfish reasons, I have no children of my own.

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:16 pm
by painless
Interesting though this question may be it is simply bringing the decision closer to home. All of us do already sacrifice plenty of other lives in order to enjoy our own. Countless servicemen, firefighters, police, construction workers (the list is long) have died and will continue to die for us and, like it or not, we have all made the decision that that situation will not change any time soon.
The question only asks, in my mind, "Can you look them in the eye and still make that choice?" My answer, for what it is worth, is yes.

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:12 pm
by Jezza13
Since It looks like I need to expand the scenario a little,

This is purely a political / religious terrorist situation.
You are in a small restaurant
Your group is not bound but are seated on the floor in a loose huddle in area away from any exit and approximately 4m away from the terrorist who is facing you
You are not allowed to talk to other hostages unless instructed
All windows and doors have been covered up. There is no way anyone can see in
You gather law enforcement people, including snipers, are posted around the place
The terrorist has stated a group affiliation but, through talking to him, you sense he is vague on his knowledge of that group.
The terrorist has a semi automatic rifle and what looks like explosives strapped to his chest, though something tells you the explosives may not be real.
The terrorist has held you hostage for 8 hrs already and he is making demands to the media and police.
Naturally the other hostages are scared but, after 8 hrs, are relatively calm
His demands, up to this point, are basic and only involve demanding to talk to certain political, media and religious people
The terrorist has already killed 1 person for no other reason than to show he is serious and has stated numerous times that now he has killed 1, it doesn't matter how many die.

What do you do now?

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:15 am
by minchy
Good expansion of the situation there.

After 8 hours I think the initial 'sh*tting my pants' phase that mac_d described would have subsided and every hostage would have had time to think the situation through. The knowledge that law enforcement are there would probably encourage me to not do anything stupid and the fact that he is making demands and has held us hostage for such a long time with only 1 death and hasn't blown himself up would make me think that he either has no intention of killing other hostages or will wait until has enough attention and kill is all! So straight away I'm thinking it's a 50/50 chance of us all living or all dying, which would lead me not not want to try to escape until it was either too late cause he did blow himself up or he started firing and it was a case everyone for themselves when self preservation would more than likely kick in.

The next point is that you have said we are in a restaurant which in most cases would mean large windows and a lot of them all around making it very hard to fully cover all of them (I don't know of any restaurants that have blinds or curtains except take outs) giving police marksmen an excellent view if the situation turned for the worst but didn't involve blowing himself up, which makes me think it would actually be best to just wait it out and hope for the best. The other thing about being in a restaurant is that he may have tried to block all entrance's, but knowing restaurants, they will have the main entrance, at least 1 other fire escape, the staff entrance and possibly a back of house fire escape, large extraction systems and possibly other ways for a assault unit. If the gunman was on his own it is unlikely that he actually has every entrance covered whilst taking us hostage in the first place. So more things to give me hope that we're going to make it out alive.

His weapon is also something I may think about if deciding what to do in this situation. Most semi-auto rifles are not the easiest things to simply point and shoot like a handgun and generally have a fairly big kick which makes it difficult to get off multiple rounds on target quickly. I don't think I would have the balls to do it (and you didn't give it as an option), but playing the hero could be a possibility if silent communication had taken place between hostages using eyes and head nods etc. With nothing but a semi-auto rifle and the possibility of the chest explosives being fake, it would probably be possible for 2 hostages to overcome him if a situation arose were escape was an option. I'd assume the chance would come about due to the gunman looking away for a short time or possibly relieving himself after 8 hours! With the chance to grab a fork from a table and jump him, he may not get his first shot on target and if 2 hostages or more did so at the same time it is feasible to overcome him with only 1 person getting shot (potentially not fatally) and is a better trade off than 3 people dying. The other thing in this scenario would be humans pack survival mentality and it may be the case that if 1 person try's then others would follow.

I would also assume that if the main door was blocked that escape would be through the back of house areas/kitchen and I would assume that we were being held closer to the middle of the room so my thoughts would be that I would have to run away from him to get there giving him more time to aim and shoot and this would make me want to not run, even if I thought it was possible to get away.

So with the further details and 8 hours, that would be thought process, and I think I would not try to escape and hope for the best. Or in my fantasy world try to be a hero and if it all goes wrong, I wouldn't be around to feel guilty about causing the death of everyone else! But I'll say again, I don't think I've got the balls for that ;)

(just looked at that after it was posted and sorry for the essay! The last paragraph is my answer)

Re: What would you do if

Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:07 am
by flyboy10
You've kind of answered your own question because it's hypothetical. The only true answer anyone can give is that you can't know what you'd do in a situation you haven't actually faced. I believe the instinct to save/preserve oneself is so strong that survival would be the one thing that an individual would be expected to prioritise the highest, even without thinking. But I have no idea what I would do. I might know what I think I'd like to do, but the number of times that hasn't happened in my life, I really don't know. I'd question anybody who believed that they do know.